Pensions: Misrepresentation

Treasury written question – answered on 21st October 2019.

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Photo of Faisal Rashid Faisal Rashid Labour, Warrington South

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he is taking to (a) prevent pension phone scams and (b) bring people who undertake pension phone scams to justice.

Photo of John Glen John Glen Minister of State (Treasury) (City), The Economic Secretary to the Treasury

The Government is committed to protecting people from pension scams, and pursuing those who perpetrate pension scams wherever possible. That is why the government established Project Bloom, a joint taskforce between government, regulators and law enforcement to share intelligence, raise awareness of scams through communications campaigns, and take enforcement action when appropriate.

Regulations to ban pensions cold calling came into force in early January 2019, using the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003 (PECR) as a legal framework. Firms who break the rules could face penalties of up to half a million pounds. As well as deterring cold callers by making their activities illegal, the cold calling ban makes it clear to the public that any pensions cold call they receive is illegal and likely to be a scam call.

The Government also recently amended PECR to allow fines on individual directors who consent to or connive in or neglect to prevent serious contraventions of PECR by their organisation(s). The new measure came into force in December 2018. This measure gives the Information Commissioner the power to impose civil monetary penalties of up to £500,000 on those in positions of responsibility in all forms of corporate entities.

In addition, the Government has recently provided the National Trading Standards Scams team up to £640,000 for the roll out of call blocking devices, free of charge, to vulnerable people, including old aged pensioners. The National Trading Standards launched this project on 15 October of this year.

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